A “nice guy” narcissist is someone who appears outwardly friendly, polite, and considerate, often using charm and flattery to gain your favor.
However, under this facade of kindness, they show narcissistic traits, like conditional giving and helping, manipulation, playing the victim, and a self-centered focus on their own needs and desires.
They use their charm and apparent niceness to control and manipulate others, often with an underlying agenda.
So let’s learn what a man does that shows they’re probably a “nice guy” narcissist.
1) Excessive flattery
Excessive flattery can make them appear very polite and complimentary. On the surface. That’s why it’s easy to slap them with the label of a nice guy.
However, this flattery often hides an ulterior motive, such as gaining favor or manipulating others.
For example, when they want something from you, they might say, “You’re the only one who can handle this. You’re so much smarter than everyone else.”
They use this type of flattery to manipulate you into taking on tasks or responsibilities you may not want to do. You probably don’t even have time for them, yet you feel like you have to do them now.
2) Love bombing
Love bombing is an intense and overwhelming show of affection, admiration, and attention, typically used by “nice guy” narcissists in the early stages of a relationship to create a strong emotional bond and gain control.
They often go to great lengths to make their partner feel cherished, such as buying extravagant gifts, planning surprise getaways, or writing heartfelt love letters.
You have to admit not many men make such a grand effort, even at the beginning of the relationship. It’s no wonder many women fall head over heels for them.
But over time, the intense affection gives way to controlling behavior and emotional manipulation as the narcissist aims to maintain their power and validation.
Recognizing love bombing early in a relationship can be crucial to protect yourself from falling into the trap set by a “nice guy” narcissist.
Let’s see what else they have in store.
3) Seeking validation
Constantly seeking validation can make them seem like they have low self-esteem and need support. What this does is it creates an image of vulnerability.
You see them as insecure and almost timid.
However, this constant need for approval is often just another way to get command over others.
For instance, in relationships, they frequently ask for reassurance of their partner’s love and affection.
“Do you really love me? Are you sure you’re happy with me?” These questions aim to prompt affirmation, reinforcing their self-worth.
But they also use them to tighten the grip around you because if you answer with something that’s not 100% affirmative, all hell will break loose.
4) Conditional giving
“Nice guy” narcissists may seem generous and kind, offering help and favors to others. But their acts of kindness are usually conditional. Meaning they expect something in return, which goes against the genuine nature of kindness and compassion.
I mean, there are countless examples of this, and you might have already encountered some of them.
Like offering to help a friend move but then expecting that friend to help them with a task or favor of equal or even greater value in return.
Or when lending money, they demand not only repayment but also extra money on top as “interest,” turning a friendly gesture into a profit-driven transaction.
5) Self-centered conversations
In conversations, these guys come across as self-absorbed and self-focused. While they appear friendly and interested in others, their true intent is to steer conversations back to themselves, making them seem self-centered despite their polite demeanor.
This isn’t as harmful as it is annoying, and it happens even with people who aren’t narcissists.
Most people love talking about themselves and what’s happening with them. They’ll often only pretend to listen actively to you and your stories.
As soon as they get a slight chance, they’ll start yapping about them again.
6) Manipulative charm
Another thing that makes these men wolf in sheep’s clothes is their charm. People see them as charismatic and likable, earning them the label of a “nice guy.”
But, they use this charm as a tool for manipulation instead of genuine friendliness.
Their self-confidence can be magnetic, and they often have an aura of self-assuredness that can be attractive to some. No one could blame you if you mistook this confidence for genuine charm.
Behind the charm, narcissists often carry deep insecurities and fragile self-esteem. Their charming demeanor serves as a defense mechanism to hide these vulnerabilities from others.
7) Inability to handle criticism
Some men seem sensitive and easily hurt by criticism, which makes you think they’re vulnerable. Yet, their defensive reactions are often a way to deflect blame and maintain their self-image as “nice guy.”
For instance, if you point out a mistake they made, they’ll respond with, “Well, you didn’t give me clear instructions.”
Or instead of addressing the criticism, they reply with criticism of their own, attempting to shift the focus away from themselves.
For example, if someone mentions their tardiness, they say, “You’re always so critical of me.”
8) Playing the victim
Narcissists are many things, but one thing you can’t take away from them – they’re smart and cunning.
They know that playing a victim can secure them sympathy and support, making them appear innocent and unfairly treated.
Nevertheless, they use this victim mentality to manipulate others into siding with them.
I’ve known a person who loved to exaggerate their personal difficulties to gain sympathy. For instance, they’d describe a minor inconvenience as a major crisis to prompt support and attention.
Narcissists are also known for provoking conflicts or drama and then presenting themselves as the victim of others’ aggression or mistreatment, often exaggerating the situation.
This behavior is incredibly annoying and difficult to deal with as they just won’t go away.
9) Boundary issues
No one loves other people prying into their life. But narcissists who invade personal boundaries and pry into others’ lives flip the script. They make people see them as simply too interested and caring:
They simply want to know more about you because they love you so much and want to be the best friend or partner they can.
But for “nice guy” narcissists, that’s simply not true. They disregard your boundaries as a way to gain access to information and control over you.
Many narcissists come across as confident and assertive. We often associate these traits with “nice guys.”
But their entitlement reflects a belief that they deserve special treatment and privileges that others don’t, which isn’t genuinely considerate behavior on their side.
They insist on exceptions to rules or policies because they think they deserve preferential treatment.
Or they simply skip queues, appointments, or wait times because they feel their time is too valuable to be wasted waiting like everyone else. Ugh!
11) Selective listening
This is the behavior I particularly hate. They tend to hear only what they want to hear and ignore or dismiss information or opinions that don’t fit in with their views or desires.
They mask this selective listening by appearing engaged and immersed when talking to you.
Let’s paint a picture:
Suppose you’re discussing a controversial topic with someone. But they constantly actively seek out and latch onto information that supports their existing beliefs while completely disregarding or dismissing any evidence or arguments to the contrary.
How can you discuss anything with such a person? Narcissists will do this to maintain control over the narrative of the conversation and steer it in a direction that benefits them.
Again, it’s very annoying.
While appearing caring and concerned, they manipulate you and others into doubting their perceptions, making them seem like supportive friends or partners.
In reality, they use gaslighting as yet another tactic to control and manipulate.
I had a narcissistic co-worker who claimed many times that conversations we had or promises he gave never happened, even when I distinctly remembered discussing them.
They’d just shrug it off with, “I never said that,” or “You must be mistaken.”
It was a wild ride working with them. Luckily, they didn’t stick around too long because they soon stepped on too many toes.
13) Emotional manipulation
Using emotions to control others makes them seem sensitive and in touch with their feelings. Yet, their emotional manipulation is a way to guilt-trip or pressure others into doing what they want.
“Nice guy” narcissists also give you silent treatment or withdraw affection to punish you for not meeting their expectations or needs. This creates anxiety and guilt, making you more compliant.
Manipulators can also shift their moods abruptly, going from affectionate to angry or distant without explanation. This instability keeps you on edge and eager to please.
There are many more things that show a man is a “nice guy” narcissist trying to control you.
Still, I think you get the picture:
They’re charming, love playing the victim, and making a scene when it suits them. Still, they also love regularly testing your boundaries.
If you don’t recognize their toxic behavior on time, you could be in a lot of trouble.